Australian Seaweeds

Australia is one of the most extraordinarily diverse places in the world for seaweeds, and probably for algae in general. It has been blessed by having an talented group of marine algal taxonomists, who continue to discover new and exciting species, genera, families and even orders of seaweeds in every part of the continent. This is a brief guide for people who wish to know more about Australian seaweeds.

Padina fraseri © M.D. GuiryPadina fraseri, Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia © M.D. Guiry

Fact sheets, guides and floras

The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia is the astounding lifetime achievment of the late Bryan Womersley. Published in 6 volumes (one for the greens, one for the browns and four for the reds), the first two volumes are out of print, but the content has been put on line by the State Herbarium of South Australia as fact sheets, and PDFs of the out-of-print volumes will shortly be made available.

The series Algae of Australia (edited by Pat McCarthy) comprises, to date, 6 detailed volumes on algae with a range of contributions including a multiauthored Introduction, a monograph of the Nemaliales (John Huisman), two volumes on green and brown marine algae of Lord Howe Island (Gerry Kraft), a volume on some orders of freshwater algae (Tim Entwisle and others), and the Phytoplankton of Temperate Coastal Waters (Hallegraeff and others).

Bob Baldock's Identification Factsheets of the Marine Benthic Flora (Algae) of Southern Australia are a great start for those wanting to know the seaweeds in this area.

John Huisman's Marine Plants of Australia and Bruce Fuhrer's Seaweeds of Australia are colourful photographic guides suitable for students and non-specialists. These are now unforutnately only available on the second-hand market.

The School of Botany at the Unviersity of Melbourne run a field botany course at Queenscliff, Victoria each year. Access is possible via the university's Community Access Programme.